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Arcadian Interlude

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Arcadia depicts a place set apart from the rest of the world where a Golden Age of security and tranquility can still be remembered.

Sometimes, the characters just get a visit there.

This place is also often set off from the rest of the narrative structurally, as a separate chapter or episode. In the film it may be shot in a slightly different visual style. In literature, it may be written with a more relaxed or lyrical tone. The Arcadian Interlude may be a key thematic and/or emotional moment for the work, even if it is never addressed again. In terms of narrative, the time away from the main setting can function as a sort of Breather Episode for the characters, a respite from the strife and conflict of the plot. If they are a couple they may have a Roll in the Hay too.

Some of the audience may view the change in setting and tone as simply an extended Big-Lipped Alligator Moment. In the process of translating a work containing one of these, the Arcadian Interlude is a likely target for trimming or cutting altogether.

Not related to that one time three guys from Duran Duran recorded as a (not really) different band entirely.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Possibly inverted with the Royal Garden and Athens arcs of Hayate the Combat Butler. These were the two plot-heavy arcs of the series and the Royal Garden was even set in a different space and time flowed differently there, and even when Athena showed up in the normal setting, she hasn't brought such emotions with her, only seeming to function as part of the overall humor of the story.
  • Heartbreakingly done near the end of Pom Poko, where the tanuki — having failed to protect their forest home from land developers — combine their transformative powers to temporarily turn the hills into the lush, Arcadian landscape they remember it as.
  • In the High School Of The Dead OVA, the surviving students discover an island isolated from the Zombie Apocalypse, the perfect setting for a relaxed and idyllic Beach Episode. By the end of their fanservicey holiday, the undead have managed a way to invade that as well, returning the gang to their regular narrative.

    Film - Animated 
  • Frivoli in Twice Upon a Time. Even though some of the main characters are from that pink wonderland of good dreams, and the movie begins there, the bulk of the movie is set in the much bleaker lands of Din and Murk. That being said, the movie implies that even Frivoli might not be as idyllic as we first see it: The tendency of the authorities to blame others for their own incompetence is why these Frivolians wind up in Din and Murk.
  • In the Dreamworks Mr. Peabody & Sherman film, there is a scene where the main characters time-travel to Renaissance-era Florence, Italy. There they meet Leonardo Da Vinci, Mona Lisa, and overall their visit there was much more peaceful and relaxing than other time periods like The French Revolution or The Trojan War.
  • The Piper at the Gates of Dawn segment of The Wind in the Willows (1995) was this. Mole and Rat, while looking for Otter's missing son, stumble on Pan, the pagan god, who's playing his pipes by the river's edge. They realise they're not afraid and he disappears, revealing Portly, safe and sound. The whole scene is adapted almost exactly from the original novel.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • Big Fish has the town of Spectre, where everything is peaceful and perfect, and no one even needs to wear shoes because the ground is all soft grass. The hero enjoys his time there but decides that he still needs to go out into the world before settling down. It's implied that people there don't really have any meaningful experiences. An author living there has been unable to write anything since arriving.

  • The Lord of the Rings: The time spent with Tom Bombadil. J. R. R. Tolkien himself stated that he considered the Tom Bombadil sequence one of the most important sequences in the entire story. From a story perspective, he represents the mystery that remains even after a reader thinks he knows all there is to know about Middle Earth and represents what could be lost. From a writing perspective, he gives Tolkien a chance to present backstory exposition in a way that interests the reader. For the characters, the time spent with Tom is a time that they can relax and not worry about the journey, unlike the time spent in Rivendell, where the question of what to do with the Ring is still the focus of attention.
  • The Wind in the Willows: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn - basically an exaggerated version of Arcadia, considering the rest of the book is pretty much set in Arcadia to start with.
  • The visit to El Dorado in Voltaire's Candide.
  • In The Chronicles of Prydain, any visit to Medwyn, the friend of all animals.
  • Bridge to Terabithia is basically about finding and maintaining an Arcadia in the modern world.
  • The Golden Country in Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • In The Belgariad, the main characters visit the farm where Garion was raised after retrieving the Orb of Aldur. It serves both to unwind from the harrowing journey and to help Garion realize that he's outgrown the place — which is part of Polgara's reason for arranging the visit.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The Harfoots are mostly disconnected from the main plot in Season 1, they are unaware of the big powers trying to decide the fate of the world. Their subplot is more relaxed and happy-go-lucky. Even in the final of Season 1, they don't meet any of the other main characters.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In several of Exalted's fiction vignettes, a Celestial Exalt dreams or flashbacks to their past incarnation's life in the First Age. They are inevitably saddened or confused by how far civilization has fallen since that golden era.

  • This is a hallmark of William Shakespeare's comedies. Though the details differ from play to play, nearly all of them include a journey to a forest or otherwise isolated and idyllic location where the characters get involved in romantic hijinks and gain a little self-awareness before returning to their ordinary lives in the city.

    Video Games 
  • In Chrono Trigger:
    • The Kingdom of Zeal. The rest of the planet is in the throes of the perpetual winter caused by Lavos' arrival, but the Floating Continent is just hunky-dory.
    • Likewise, the continually happy Millennial Fair of 1000 AD becomes increasingly incongruous as time goes on. But as side-quests and unlockables keep relating back to it, you're going to be heading there a lot.
  • Fallout 3 has two:
    • In Vault 112, you have to journey into a Lotus-Eater Machine to rescue your father. "Tranquility Lane" seems like a peaceful Pre-War suburban neighborhood, but it's subverted when it turns out to be one of many simulations Dr. Braun, the Vault's overseer, uses to torment Vault 112's citizens. You either have to help Braun with his latest twisted game or activate a "failsafe" that Mercy Kills the people of Vault 112, leaving Braun trapped in the simulation by himself for the rest of his life.
    • A side-quest takes place in an uncharacteristically lush and beautiful grove in the middle of the Wasteland, run by a cult known as the Treeminders. It turns out to be caused by Harold the Ghoul from the first two Fallout games, whose parasitic plant Bob has taken over his body and put down roots in the Capital Wasteland.
  • Yormgen from Tales of Vesperia is a town in the middle of nowhere, with no idea of current technology or politics though the mysterious Duke has managed to find it yet thrives without the protection of a blastia. It is eventually revealed to be a memory of a long-dead place created by Phaeroh.
  • Eden in the remake of La-Mulana. It doesn't last long once you get the fruit.
  • The 100 Acre Wood in Kingdom Hearts functions as this. No Heartless, no danger, just mini-games and sentimental moments.
  • The Glider PRO CD house "Metropolis," set mostly inside a skyscraper, takes the player away to a country house at one point.
  • Mother 3 has a short chapter dedicated to Lucas walking through an undisturbed field of sunflowers. Sunflowers in the game are heavily associated with memories of his mother, Hinawa, and the level ends with Lucas getting a glimpse of her.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm plays around with this near the end. The First Internet is far from an idyllic place, but the partyís first night there is spent having supper at the home of a kindly old lady and her two grandkids. Thereís no drama, just some warm hospitality to show that the First Internet isnít all bad. And to make it hurt worse when it all goes to hell in the end.

    Web Comics 

Alternative Title(s): Et Arcadia Ego